WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Western Illinois Wind Farm Waiting for Market to Improve

Sep 9, 2014

It’s been a few years since the Cardinal Point Wind Farm was proposed, and it might be a few more years before construction begins.

“I think it’s most likely that we’ll see construction in 2016 or ’17,” said Barry Fladeboe, Director of Development for Element Power, which plans to build the wind farm.

“The Illinois power marketplace has been slow for the past few years, which has challenged us in getting to construction.”

Construction of a wind farm in western Illinois could begin once the demand for wind power bounces back.
Credit Rich Egger

But he remains confident in the project.

Fladeboe said there was “a rush of construction” in Illinois from 2007 to 2011 or ’12, which filled a lot of needs for wind power.  He said alternative retail suppliers have also filled some of the needs. 

I think it's most likely that we'll see construction in 2016 or '17.

He said there will be a need for more wind power soon as:

  • Demand bounces back in the next couple years
  • The option to deliver to other markets opens up
  • “Commercial players” sign power agreements with wind projects

However, he said Illinois utilities would be the primary customers for Cardinal Point.

Fladeboe said the wind farm would be no larger than 125 to 140 turbines. He said it could be built all at once or in phases, depending on the power contracts signed for the farm and when they’re signed.

He said land acquisition and local permitting are completed for Cardinal Point, which will be built in southern Warren and northern McDonough Counties. He called it a $300 million to $400 million capital investment.

“There’s also a bit of a multiplier,” Fladeboe said.

“Whenever you build a wind farm like this and you have an operational center located somewhere, there’s a number of purchases on a day-to-day basis that happen. Whether it be oil or parts for trucks or service for trucks -- different services that are purchased locally to support the operation and maintenance of the wind farm.”

He said the farm will have 10 to 15 employees who will work good paying, technical jobs.